I still remember the days when flying gave me the hibbie jibbies. It didn't stop me from traveling, but it sure caused me a lot of sleepless nights and knots in the stomach before going on trips no matter how excited I was about the destination.
For me, it was turbulence. Hours of shaking and plunging down during a flight back home from Cuba made me curl into a ball in tears and resent getting on a plane for years afterwards. For you, it can be a variety of other things. Claustrophobia, control freakness, news about a recent accident or simply the idea of sitting in a metal tube being propelled through the air 30,000ft above the ground. These are all good reasons to be freaked out.
The good news is that there are ways to manage the fear of flying so you don't interrupt your wanderlust. Before I go into them, here are some basic facts and statistics to put things in perspective and calm your nerves down:
Don't Let The News Scare You
Even though terrible plane accidents in Asia and Europe seem to have been making the news lately, in the grand scheme of things, these unfortunate occurrences are, thankfully, extremely rare. Just think about the fact that in 2014, there were approximately 100,000 flights a day, and just under 3 billion people boarded a plane last year.
The Airplane Statistics
Flying is actually safer than many other things we do every day, including driving. Your chances of being killed in a plane crash are 1 in 11 million, compared to 1 in 5,000 for a car accident. This makes flying far safer that going to the airport!
It's OK To Shake
While unpleasant and sometimes quite scary, turbulence has never taken down a commercial airliner. The bumps result from pressure changes in the air and they're completely normal at the altitude that most planes fly at. The biggest risk during turbulence is getting injured while not wearing your seatbelt.
One Is Enough
Jet engines are actually much more simple than those you'll find in a car or even a lawnmower. The fact that the plane functions just fine with only one working should give you even more comfort.
Pressure Is On
Once you reach 30,000 feet there are about 20,000 lbs of pressure holding the airplane door shut. That should do it!
11X Every Time
For every hour of flight time, the plane undergoes 11 hours of maintenance. That’s 33 hours of maintenance to get from NYC to Miami. Remember when your flight was delayed because the curtain between Business and Economy Class was not closing? Yes, they take it that seriously.
Hopefully, this will put you at ease. Look out for tips on how to manage your fears during flights in Keep Calm and Fly On - Step 2: The Tricks.
To calm, happy flights!